A group of Seattle residents who own homes and businesses in what was, until Wednesday, the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” zone is now suing the city of Seattle over its willingness to “endorse” and enable CHOP’s lawlessness and even tolerate CHOP’s plan to create a “no cop co-op” police-free community.
KUOW Seattle reports that the group filed suit Wednesday night in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington.
“Among other things, the lawsuit claims that the city’s actions amount to an illegal ceding of public property without due process,” per KUOW. “The lawsuit says the city has actively endorsed and enabled the CHOP.”
DEVELOPING: More than a dozen businesses inside CHOP zone, on Seattle's Capitol Hill, file 56-page class action lawsuit against the City of Seattle. They're seeking unspecified damages, to be determined at trial. pic.twitter.com/RPlsW3DuNv
— Preston Phillips (@PrestonTVNews) June 25, 2020
The group says its mission is not to undermine the larger purpose of CHOP or even to bring a swift and untimely end to the protest, which announced Wednesday it is “wrapping up” in favor of “virtual activism.” It does, however, want Seattle government officials to mitigate dangers to public safety.
“This lawsuit does not seek to undermine CHOP participants’ message or present a counter-message. Rather, this lawsuit is about the constitutional and other legal rights of Plaintiffs—businesses, employees, and residents in and around CHOP—which have been overrun by the City of Seattle’s unprecedented decision to abandon and close off an entire city neighborhood, leaving it unchecked by the police, unserved by fire and emergency health services, and inaccessible to the public at large,” the complaint reads.
“The city’s decision,” they continue, “has subjected businesses, employees, and residents of that neighborhood to extensive property damage, public safety dangers, and an inability to use and access their properties.”
The filing alleges that residents and business owners of the CHOP zone have suffered “financial losses” from the protest, though they’ve left it up to the court to determine the actual damages. More than anything, it appears the plaintiffs want the city to allow the police to return to the city’s East Precinct and begin regular patrols in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.
“The result of the City’s actions has been lawlessness,” the plaintiffs’ lawyers told media. “There is no public safety presence. Police officers will not enter the area unless it is a life-or-death situation, and even in those situations, the response is delayed and muted, if it comes at all.”
Complaints reportedly began flooding into Seattle’s city government last week, after residents realized the CHOP — which Seattle’s mayor labeled a “block party” and suggested would host the city’s “summer of love” — was becoming a lawless sector at night. Fox News even reported, last week, that some residents and businesses were considering leaving the CHOP zone permanent — and perhaps leaving Seattle altogether.
Over the weekend, CHOP’s troubles became public when a series of shootings left one person dead and at least three people wounded, one remains in critical condition.
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